The TermTerm project aims to clarify and standardize the essential concepts and terminology used within the field of terminology science.

The TermTerm project

Germany not only has a long-standing tradition in terminological research activities in industry, in training and in associations, but is also well-known for its role in the foundation and principles of terminology. Nevertheless the terminological world itself has not been as dilligent when it comes to the terms of terminology. Even at terminology symposiums and professional conferences, the nouns 'concept' and 'term' are sometimes used incorrectly or interchangeably.


  1. The abbreviation TMS means different things to different people, because it refers to three different concepts:
    • Translation Management System
    • Translation Memory System
    • Terminology Management System
  2. Terminology management systems vendors often use different terms for identical program options. For example, the forms for creating terminological entries are referred to as 'input model' by one vendor and as 'entry template' by another.

Most of the concepts of terminology science are indeed standardized, but are not known by all users nor widely accessible. Over the course of several projects, a number of institutions found it necessary to clarify the terminology of terminology and to prepare this data in a terminological database. 


Students of the MA program 'Terminology and language engineering'

In the Department of Information and Communication Science, the Cologne University of Applied Sciences offers a master's program in terminology and language engineering. A lecture course on terminology theory is followed in the second semester by a practical project. If students are unsure what terminology means in the first semester, they have the opportunity to clarify the terms of terminology and document them in a database under the supervision of Prof. Dr. K.-D. Schmitz. The resulting database is then be made accessible to all interested users.


The Cologne University of Applied Sciences, in collaboration with selected industry partners and the International Network for Terminology -TermNet, successfully launched an innovative e-learning system for terminology named elcat onto the market in 2011. It is a modular e-learning system, which consists of eleven learning modules on terminology. The contents of elcat are based on the relevant standards for terminology.

Comprehensibility and clarity were given primary consideration in the didactic preparation; all content was illustrated with diagrams and illustrations. The individual modules were developed according to the standard-compliant terms of terminology, and an extensive glossary was created to facilitate the understanding of the terminology used in elcat as well as to provide an overview of the central concepts of terminology. TermNet oversaw the translation of the elcat course from German into English translation and created an elcat terminological database during the process. Although this terminological database is property of TermNet, it was made available to the 'TermTerm' project.

Of course, a project and an organizational unit are needed for the management and maintenance of this data.

Therefore, a decision was made to found a TermTerm consortium that would be responsible for provisioning and maintaining this data.

Hellenic Society for Terminology – ELETO 

Terminologists in Germany always keep abreast of ongoing developments in the field of terminology in other countries. Not surprisingly, Prof. Dr. Schmitz received a newsletter from the Hellenic Society for Terminology – ELETO that also included a report on the newly created Greek terms of terminology. In response, Diana Brändle contacted representatives of ELETO and was given permission to merge the Greek and German data. Kostas Valeontis, executive director of ELETO, is editor and contact person for the Greek TermTerm database.

This description is based on the introduction by Matilda Soare on her master's thesis and contains modifications and annotations made by Diana Brändle and Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dirk Schmitz (effective 21-01-2012).

Terminology´s Terminology...
---> Open Termbase